A Formula for Strategic Relationships

Trust is the foundation of successful business (and personal) relationships. When trust is present, information flows more readily, people are more receptive to new ideas and everyone receives more honest feedback.

While trust is an emotional response, there are formulae to create and maintain trust. I like the one offered by Charles H. Green, co-author of “The Trusted Adviser.”

(Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy)/Self-orientation

Credibility: We build credibility with our credentials, professional experience, presence, business judgement and financial acumen. We also demonstrate credibility by answering questions directly and succinctly offering our opinions and insights.

Reliability: We build reliability when people know they can count on us to make and keep commitments, respond promptly and show consistency in our actions and attitudes.

Intimacy: The authors use this term to mean connectedness, empathy and discretion. Intimacy engenders relationships where people share what is most important to them. Candor with respect grows intimacy.

Self-orientation: Being in the denominator, self-orientation works in reverse. To build trust, people need to believe that you are motivated by the best interests of the organization and people. That means being unselfish. It also means being calm, not preoccupied or self-secure. These qualities help you be perceived as objective, without a personal agenda.

Trust is, however, a binary dynamic. The first is trustworthiness, the one being trusted. The other dynamic is the person doing the trusting and taking the risks. It may be obvious that others take risk in trusting us. It may be less obvious that we have to show that we trust them as well.

What are the dynamics of your strategic relationships?

Say What? Tips for Speaking or Presenting at Conferences

I just returned from the annual SHSMD conference, which featured many excellent presentations from communications pros in the healthcare and health tech/data industries, and it got me thinking about the value of presenting well.

Speaking opportunities are a great way to spread awareness of and interest in your products, services or organization. Whether it’s an informal business roundtable through your local chamber, or a national conference attended by thousands, presentations offer you a chance for face-to-face engagement with your audience in a way most other marketing channels don’t.

Make the most of that engagement with these quick tips:

  1. Keep it short. No one wants to listen to someone trying to cram 140 slides worth of information into a 30-minute talk. Be thoughtful about streamlining your material and highlighting only the most important information in a way that gets to your key takeaways faster.
  2. Keep it relevant. Make sure your content is meaningful to your audience. When possible, include real-world anecdotes and examples. Instead of citing loads of data in tiny-hard-to-read charts, boil it down to a few lessons from the before-and-after. Sharing tactical tips that are easy to apply and replicate is another great way to deliver audience value.
  3. Keep it fun. Humor helps a lot! A presentation on even the driest subject becomes more interesting with a little humor. I once saw someone discuss the dangers of honeybee decolonization by comparing it to the popular show Sex and the City. Use pop culture, use industry in-jokes if you’re with a familiar crowd, include funny stories or short activities to make your information—and your company!—memorable.
  4. Interact, engage, follow-up. You have your audience in the room with you—take advantage of it. Ask them for questions. Ask if they’ve encountered similar situations. This is your chance to learn from them just like they’re learning from you.  Also be savvy about including your contact information, website or social media follow-ups, or other specific calls-to-action that support your campaign. By directing them to additional information or connecting with them after the presentation, you build the beginning of a longer relationship.

5 Ways to Get your Social Media Accounts Ready for the Spotlight

Is your organization gearing up for a large social media campaign? Are you attending a prominent industry conference? Or, maybe your organization is about to announce a big change?

Whatever your situation may be, if you anticipate more people, or a new audience, checking out your social media accounts, it’s time to make sure your social platforms are ready for the spotlight.

Here are a few quick and easy ways to take your social media accounts from drab to fab:

1. Establish consistency. Whether your organization is on two social media platforms or ten, the brand should remain consistent across all its accounts. Make sure your organization’s names (handles), photos and general description are as similar as possible so it is easy for people to find, follow and engage with you. Once your accounts are consistent, use the “website” field to cross-promote them.

2. Elevate your photos. We live in a world of high-quality photos. With a little cropping or coordination with a graphic designer, it’s simple to optimize (resize) your main pictures to look great on social media. Chose photos that will work well across all platforms to keep your accounts consistent. 

According to Hootsuite, the standard image sizes for major social platforms are:

  • Facebook profile picture: 180×180 pixels
  • Facebook cover photo: 851×315 pixels
  • Twitter profile picture: 400×400 pixels
  • Twitter header image: 1,500×500 pixels
  • LinkedIn logo: 400×400 pixels
  • LinkedIn banner image: 646×220 pixels

3. Spice up your organization’s bio. To make your organization more searchable, work relevant keywords into your social profiles. Add links, hashtags, handles, prominent industry terms and maybe even a little humor or creativity into your bios, and your number of page visits and followers are sure to increase. 

4. Engage with others. With so many companies using social media, sometimes all it takes is a little reminder that you exist. Follow-back people who have followed you, thank people for taking the time to retweet or like your post, or ask your clients/customers for reviews or endorsements. In the social media world, there are infinite opportunities to engage.

5. Publish a “teaser” post. Did you start reading this blog because you could relate to one of our opening questions? Well then, it sounds like you have exciting news to share! After you’ve made some updates to your social media accounts, tell your audience why you’ve made changes. A “teaser” post like, “We’re giving our social media accounts a face-lift in preparation for a BIG announcement,” will keep your audience engaged and checking back in with your accounts often.

Now, are you feeling more ready for the spotlight?